The Strategy lays out a new way of working for the dairy sector, with a clear vision to improve lives with every drop of New Zealand milk.
Today, the partners of the Strategy, DairyNZ, DCANZ, Dairy Women’s Network, and Federated Farmers, celebrate a successful first 12-months, where the focus has been on doing things differently and working in partnership with organisations across the country.
Dairy Tomorrow’s chair, Jim van der Poel, who is also chair of DairyNZ, says “it’s exciting to look back on the past 12 months and see the sheer volume of what’s been achieved, but more importantly how the sector is thinking and behaving differently about the future of dairy.
“We don’t take for granted our right to farm, and Dairy Tomorrow is clear that we need to do things differently. We have an aspiration to be the best dairy farmers in the world. As both as a farmer and a leader in the sector, I’m passionate about this aspiration and extremely proud of what I see is already being achieved.”
Teams of people from across the sector are focussed on the six commitments of Dairy Tomorrow, and building projects to deliver the goals against them.
The Dairy Tomorrow commitments focus on:
- Looking after the environment
- Having resilient and competitive farm businesses
- Having markets and consumers that place premium value on our products
- Taking good care of our animals
- Attracting and developing great people – both on-farm and in supporting businesses
- Continuing to contribute to maintaining vibrant communities.
“Today, we stand back and reflect on how far we’ve come as a sector in the past 20 -years and we should all feel excited about what the next 20-years will bring,” Mr van der Poel says.
“We believe we’re leading the environmental charge in New Zealand, and our farmers are at the forefront of sustainable farming. And further to that, our farmers are some of the best in the world for animal care.
“We know there is more work to be done – that is what this strategy is about. But today is a day for being proud about our innovative, world-leading and caring dairy farming sector.”
For more information see the Dairy Tomorrow website.
Highlights over the last year
We will protect and nurture the environment
- DairyNZ and Federated Farmers have been working with Irrigation NZ, Beef and Lamb NZ, MPI, Ministry for the Environment, Horticulture NZ, and Regional Councils on identifying on-farm practises to improve water quality. This has resulted in the Good Farming Practice - Action Plan for Water Quality which provides nationally agreed Good Farming Principles and a voluntary action plan to accelerate uptake, and report on progress. Find out more.
- DairyNZ and Fonterra have been working with Aparima catchment leaders group, Environment Southland, Beef and Lamb NZ, Ministry for the Environment, Foundation for Arable Research, NZ Deer Farmers Association on improving freshwater quality in the Aparima Freshwater Management Unit (Southland). This has resulted in a five-year community-led, multi-agency environmental-good project to implement good farming principles and practices at pace and scale to demonstrate benefits to water quality and ecosystem health. It will result in improvements in local freshwater quality, and evidence to support application of the good farming principles in other catchments. Find out more.
- DairyNZ and Dairy Processors have been working with AgResearch and Deltares on quantifying dairy’s water quality footprint across the country.
- DairyNZ and Dairy Processors have been working with NIWA, Regional Councils, and the DoC-Fonterra Living Waters Programme on practical guides on how to reduce contaminant losses on farm using constructed wetland and riparian buffers targeted for a range of pastoral landscapes.
We will build the world’s most competitive and resilient farm businesses
- DairyNZ have been working on a tool, called FarmGuage, that allows farmers to assess their farm's performance and identify opportunities for improvement. FarmGauge supports farmers to complete a whole farm assessment to identify and capture improvements in farm performance. See Farm Gauge.
- DairyNZ have been working on a set of measures that can be used to assess the performance of dairy farms which will provide measures, benchmarks and targets that allow the sector to compare its relative competitiveness and target resources to areas for improvement.
- DairyNZ have been working with NZIPIM, and Rural Professionals on improving overall business performance linked to business or personal goals. We aim to have over 600 farm businesses having completed a Whole Farm Assessment (WFA) in the 12 months to 31 May 2019. The tools we have developed will support farmers towards the goal of 10% of dairy farms annually completing a WFA to identify and capture improvements in farm performance.
We will produce the highest quality and most valued dairy nutrition
- DCANZ have been working with MPI, NZFSSRC, ASURE Quality on establishing an expert technical exchange programme focused on milk quality with Chinese counterparts. This has resulted in New Zealand China Milk Quality Expert Working Group.
We will be world-leading in on-farm animal care
- The first step is to understand what world leading in animal care looks like. Starting with the public, resulting in World Leading Animal Care - a view from the NZ public, and work by dairy processors with AgResearch, International Welfare Researchers, and farmers as co-developers to understand what constitutes world leading animal care.
- The dairy tomorrow partners have been working with MIA, MPI, Road Transport Forum, and NZVA on improving the care of young calves along the supply chain.
- The Codes of Welfare set out the minimum standards for animal welfare outcomes. The New Zealand regulatory framework is recognised as one of the best in the world. The dairy sector is exploring a framework that moves beyond minimum standards and incorporates the latest knowledge of animal care, allows for continuous improvement and takes account of public and customer expectations. This will result in a framework co-developed by farmers with input from experts and endorsed by animal welfare agencies.
- The annual animal care survey provides an overview of standards of animal care on NZ dairy farms.
We will build great workplaces for New Zealand’s most talented workforce
- To support students with the opportunity to study agribusiness as an entry into the primary sector from Secondary Schools, the dairy sector has been working with St Pauls Collegiate School, Beef and Lamb, 11 business partners and 40 partner schools to complete Phase 1 of the Agribusiness Centre of Excellence program to establish Levels 2 and 3 NCEA in 25 Secondary Schools. For more information see
- Federated Farmers have been working with Primary ITO on attracting and training people for dairy farming careers. This has resulted in Dairy Apprenticeship Scheme, launched in October last year, which provides a formal training and support programme to attract motivated and bright New Zealanders into dairy farming careers. 65 apprentices are currently enrolled; this is expected to reach 100 by Christmas 2018. Find out more.
- DairyNZ have been working with Primary Industries Capability Alliance (PICA) on understanding where the dairy workforce comes from to allow us to better target and provide support. This has resulted in Career Changer Research, which provides insights to help us design and build support programs to attract and support new entrants to the dairy sector. Find out more.
- It is important that farm businesses provide good employment conditions. Dairy Women’s Network and Federated Farmers have been working with PaySource on raising awareness of the requirements for payday filing that take effect on 1 April 2019, and supporting farmers to make those changes.
- DairyNZ have been working with WorkSafe on reducing injuries. The majority of dairy farm injuries occur when handling animals, especially associated with milking. This first phase study will result in information on the factors that lead to injuries so that preventative actions can be developed and implemented, which will provide a safer work environment for people working on dairy farms. DairyNZ and Dairy Processors in the Canterbury and Southland regions have been working on understanding workforce and labour constraints. It will provide benchmark information to enable more targeted initiatives to respond to workforce demands.
- DairyNZ have been working with Primary ITO on the skill needs of the sector: on farms, in support roles, and in science, to ensure farm businesses are competitive and resilient. This will result in a description of the status of the skills base relative to the dairy industry standardised roles, which will provide the basis for further targeted investment in skills development.
- Federated Farmers and Dairy Women’s Network have been working with NZYF, MBIE, ImmigrationNZ, PITO, WorkSafe, NZIPIM, PICA, Lincoln University, Massey University and RST on refreshing Workplace Action Plan, which was first launched in 2015. This will result in a set of standards which clearly sets out what good and great workplaces look like, which will provide for targeted extension activities to support farmers to work towards the Dairy Tomorrow Goal of providing great workplaces for NZs most talented workforce.
- DWN have planned workshops: Payroll Essentials for Employers and Employees, Farm Accommodation, and Focus Groups: New Entrants, Migrant Workers, and Career Changers.
Senior Communications and Engagement Manager